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25th March
written by Catherine An

So good news first.

Evidently, Newport is doing something right. The small Rhode Island community has reduced chronic homelessness by half utilizing the Housing First strategy and a collaboration of six agencies and churches is aiming to end chronic homelessness in Newport and other small surrounding communities. It’s like the good program director says, ““It’s not rocket science. Homeless people need homes. ”

This message, unfortunately, is being lost among those in charge of our city, state, and federal budgets. It’s no secret by now – we’ve been writing about it for months now! – that everyone feels up against the wall trying to stay in the black. But the choices our leaders are being forced to make are cringe-worthy indeed, from reducing housing vouchers for veterans, to eliminating food stamps and cash assistance, to downsizing state safety nets for the poor. While it’s clear that all of us will have to compromise to preserve the greater good, certainly we don’t have to balance the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors – right?

Speaking of, two more quick hits to round out the week.

There was an interesting post in the Atlantic asking “should you give money to homeless people?” And in the Nation, there was an summary about US poverty rates. (We actually blogged about it yesterday.)

Check those out and let us know what you think!


  1. 26/03/2011

    Fortunately, no one is talking about eliminating food stamps (yet). What may be eliminated is the boost in value that was part of the economic recovery act.

    Similarly, no one at the federal level is, to my knowledge, talking about eliminating cash assistance. However, a proposal by the House Republican Study Committee would cut TANF funding by $1 billion. This would almost certainly produce state cuts in cash benefits.

  2. sharon mcdonald

    Thanks for calling attention to this proposal Kathryn. States are already considering TANF cuts (reducing time limits or cash assistance grants) and cutting the federal block grant would certainly harm poor families.

    A responsive TANF program that provides adequate income support and help to get parents back into the workforce is critical to helping us end homelessness for families w/children once and for all. We can’t afford to go backwards.